Last year she auditioned just like any other girl who wanted to be part of the West End remake of Miss Saigon. Prodded by family, friends, colleagues and supporters who believed in her, and encouragement from the Ms Lea Salonga herself, she quietly signed up for auditions. Her schedule was full but she made time for it. People speculated. Will she? Will she not? Confirmation only came when she showed up at the audition venue without much funfare.
Every girl that came to that audition aspired for the lead role Kim. If you want to dream, then dream big, right? Rachelle was no different. She tried for Kim during the auditions. She made it to the shortlist. It was close to a year before she heard again from Cameron Mackintosh’s team. She thought she didn’t make it to the cut until she got word from them two months ago. She was, however, told that her age was not appropriate for the role but they would love for her to try for the role of Gigi. And for her, the opportunity of being part of the cast offers is enough to say yes, yes, YES.
And now, Rachelle Ann Go is Gigi in the 25th anniversary production of Miss Saigon opening May 3, 2014 at the West End. (Watch Cameron Mackintosh’s cast announcement.)
Thankful to be Gigi
Off to London she went for the final audition and got the part. For Rachelle, it was a dream come true just to hear them say that she is in. Not getting the role of Kim was not even an issue with her, although she is still quite uneasy about having to don Gigi’s famous bikini. But work is work, even without much protective clothing.
The disappointment of not bagging the role of Kim was but a natural but very fleeting feeling because excitement and gratitude immediately swiped it away. Why be disappointed when she will be part of the main cast, no matter how few her scenes may be. She gets the first spotlight and gets to sing one of the most popular songs in the musicale, The Movie In My Mind. I would not even say at least she got in because that would diminish the value of her being chosen. Given the age issue that became a big factor in how things turned out, getting the role of Gigi is an achievement in itself. Undermining that feat by making it sound like settling for second best is what’s disappointing for me.
So to those who feel short-changed somehow about the final casting, don’t be. Be proud that she is part of yet another historical run of Miss Saigon after 25 years since it was first staged at the West End. This is what dreams are made of. Let us not make this blessing any less than it really is for Rachelle and for our country which she will make even prouder in the coming year.
Ultimate show of grace as an artist
With another achievement tucked under her belt, Rachelle continues to show us the kind of artist that she is. Her gutsiness to take on challenges has paid off time and again as more doors open for her to evolve into a multifaceted artist. She was never bogged down by fears of putting her popularity on the line by taking on something new. She continues to push herself not just to do better but to try new things. The past few years saw her make a home in a new network, blossom as a performer, tried and succeeded as a concert producer and achieved much deserved accolades as she tried her hand in theater.
Although luck played a part in her journey in tinseltown, it is the artist and the person that she has evolved into that has propelled her to where she is now and where she is headed for in the days to come. She has shown us that strong faith, hard work, perseverance, humility, generosity and love for her craft can take you far. Her efforts to improve herself despite some disappointments and upsets continue to pay off. That is why whatever she has achieved now, she deserves to the hilt. Hers is no fluke but one that is hard-earned. She never had a bad word to say to fellow artists, production people or fans. Quite the opposite actually. And I believe that those are the very reasons why no matter what smut or dirty talk is thrown at her, the grime just cleanses itself off her. Once again, it becomes a case of her not being good or bad but being a hindrance to somebody. She isn’t perfect (who is anyway?) but her strong faith and her relentless belief in being a blessing to others puts her a cut above most in this cut-throat world called showbusiness.
And life is like a dream
The dream I long to find
The movie in my mind
This is a dream come true indeed not just for Rachelle but all those who love and support her. Yet I wouldn’t say that this is the ultimate dream because with her strength, talent, dedication and drive, there will be new dreams to conquer after Miss Saigon. The beauty about Rachelle Ann Go is that as time goes by, her star shines brighter because the woman behind the artist simply believes that in good and with God, we will reach very far.
(Watch a tribute to this awesome artist in Sunday All Stars last December 1, 2013 and her very memorable duet with Ms. Lea Salonga in the latter’s 35th Anniversary concert, Playlist, last December 6-7.)